'The wait is finally over': SAA back in the skies on September 23
'SAA will as an initial phase operate flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo': interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo
Embattled carrier SAA will finally be back in the skies, its interim CEO and board confirmed on Wednesday.
In a statement, SAA said flights would start on September 23.
“The wait is finally over,” it said. “In just under a month, the striking and familiar livery of SAA will again be visible in the skies as the airline resumes operations. The carrier has confirmed the first flights will commence on Thursday September 23 2021.”
Voyager bookings and Travel Credit Voucher redemption would be available from Monday September 6.
After months of being grounded due to financial woes, it was announced in June that SAA had secured a new strategic partner that would own 51% of the airline.
Public enterprise minister Pravin Gordhan announced in June that the government had reached an agreement with a private company, Takatso Consortium. The government would own the remaining 49%.
Takatso Consortium is 51% black-owned, and was expected to initially pump in R3bn into the airline while retaining the name. Gordhan said the government would not be putting any more money into SAA and all funding would come from Takatso.
The new airline would be launched once all “due diligence” had been completed, it was said at the time.
In Wednesday's statement, interim SAA CEO Thomas Kgokolo said he was delighted that the airline would be back in the skies.
“SAA will as an initial phase operate flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo. More destinations will be added to the route network as it ramps up operations in response to market conditions.
“There is a profound feeling of enthusiasm within 'Team SAA' as we prepare for takeoff, with one common purpose — to rebuild and sustain a profitable airline that once again takes a leadership role among local, continental and international airlines.
“The aviation sector is going through a testing period, and we are aware of the tough challenges that lie ahead. We thank SA for the support we have received in getting us to where we are today,” said Kgokolo.